Gangster’s gal loses ‘her’ gold …

2008-03-22 00:00

IN a dirty bus stop behind the Durban railway station, young Zethu Sithole is bawling her eyes out. A few minutes before she had been dancing with her new boyfriend in a Durban nightclub — but that all changed in seconds.

Burly men grabbed her by her arm and removed her most treasured items.

Now the valuable baubles and the vintage gold watch she had impressed would-be lovers with are no longer hers. Detective Inspector Keith Caswell from the SAPS Organised Crime Unit removed the valuables and sealed them inside evidence bags.

Sithole was the mistress of Sabelo Cele — a notorious Durban gangster, armed robber and home invader, who was shot dead two weeks ago when he and his gang attempted to rob a Ballito home.

Only hours after his death his lover was out on the town — wearing jewellery he had given her.

Like many of the housebreakers Enforce Investigations are probing, Cele targeted homes for firearms, electronic goods and jewellery.

Jeremy Marten, an investigator with Enforce, told Weekend Witness that his investigations led him to believe that electronic goods and firearms were sold as soon as they were obtained. Jewellery and expensive watches were taken to win the affections of women.

Marten said he had reliable information that Sithole was given many expensive pieces of jewellery by Cele. When he and detectives from the SAPS Organised Crime Unit visited the Umgeni Road nightclub that Sithole is known to frequent, they found her cavorting with a new lover — and wearing items of gold jewellery, including a vintage Art Deco style watch. All are suspected to have been stolen.

Sithole told police the jewellery was inherited from her dead mother. However, when police insisted on searching her room, Sithole’s mother was found very much alive — sharing a hovel with five other family members.

Zethu, however, had her own bedroom. Nick Noome, the director of Enforce Investigations, told Weekend Witness his information was that Zethu’s mother and family were so scared of Cele that they gave Zethu her own room and double bed — while the rest of the family slept on dirty foam mattresses on a damp floor.

Marten told Weekend Witness that an informer said that the bus stop near where Sithole’s family live is a hub for the movement of stolen goods. He said his investigations led him to believe that goods were loaded on buses destined for Malawi and Mozambique, to be sold for U.S. dollars.

Detective Inspector Keith Caswell of the SAPS Organised Crime Unit said he is on the trail of other armed housebreaking gangs — and that he intends to target the lovers of these gangs to recover stolen jewellery. — OC.

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